World Trade Center Tacoma to host delegations from across globe

Hosting the local portion of the Washington State International Trade Week in early May is just the beginning for the World Trade Center Tacoma, which will welcome trade delegations from several countries during the rest of next month.

Over the course of May, representatives from South Korea, Hungary, Vietnam and possibly even Turkey will come to Tacoma to discuss trade and growth opportunities.

International trade is becoming increasingly important in the global economy. In the United States, international trade’s share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from 11 percent in 1970 to nearly 30 percent today, according to the Washington State Office of Trade & Economic Development.

GDP is the market value of all final goods and services produced in the nation during a period of time, usually a year.

Washington state’s strategic location – midway between Europe and Asia – and excellent multi-modal transportation network make it a major center of international commerce.

With 76 public ports, three international airports, numerous regional airports and a well-maintained system of highways and railroads, Washington state is the most trade-oriented state in the nation. Washington state contains about 2 percent of the nation’s population, but accounts for about 7 percent of the country’s exports, according to the Washington State Office of Trade & Economic Development.

As part of International Trade Week, on May 2, Secretary of State Sam Reed will welcome representatives from Pierce County, Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma to the Sheraton Tacoma, 1320 Broadway Plaza, as they present economic briefings to Washington state trade representatives.

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will introduce Washington state trade representatives from Japan, South Korea, Europe, Canada, Mexico, China and Taiwan as the featured lunch speakers.Washington State foreign office representatives from those countries will also be available for morning and afternoon appointments.

On May 10, the Korean International Trade Association (KITA) will visit, bringing a delegation of Korean businessmen to join the World Trade Center Tacoma with the intention of creating business connections in the region. Delegates represent companies that specialize in the electronic machinery, textile, shoes and food processing industries.

The South Korean delegation will be at World Trade Center Tacoma headquarters, 3600 Port of Tacoma Rd. (Room 104), from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

A delegation from an important ally in America’s war against terrorism and any possible future military action against Iraq – Turkey – may be visiting the area in mid-May for the purpose of stimulating trade between that Middle Eastern nation and Washington state.

On May 30, World Trade Center Tacoma presents “Investment & Business Opportunities in Hungary,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at World Trade Center Tacoma headquarters, 3600 Port of Tacoma Rd. (Room 104).

Speakers include Szabolcs Kerek-Barczy, the consul general of Hungary in Los Angeles, Calif., and Vilmos Skulteti, CEO of Investment & Trade Development Agency of Hungary. The speakers panel will share current investment and trade opportunities in Hungary.

The month will end with a visit from a Vietnamese delegation on May 31. The local business community will have an opportunity to meet with a Vietnam trade delegation and learn more about the current trade expansion in Vietnam.

Vietnam delegation members representing the following industries: textile, apparel, footwear, produce, tea, handicrafts, plastics wares, coffee and cashew nuts will be available to meet with individuals interested in trade with Vietnam from 9:45 a.m.11:30 am.

Following the morning networking meetings is a speakers luncheon featuring a presentation by Le Xuang Duang of the Vietnamese Embassy from noon to 2 pm.

The event takes place at Bates Technical College, 1101 South Yakima Ave.

For more information about any of these events, please contact the World Trade Center Tacoma by calling 253/383-9474, or visiting their Web site at: